No time left for sentiment

When Christianity is reduced to sentimentality, the Church neglects its duty to God. Surrendering to the world, apologising for what it believes, desperate to prove itself “kind”, the Church soon falls into decay.

Some will say that such an approach is merely love for our enemies. But consider what “love” means. It is seeking someone’s good in accordance with God’s laws. Therefore, if someone is promoting heresy and leading others on the road to perdition, we would seek their good by pointing out their errors, rather than allowing them to lead others into sin. So if we would love our enemies we will be busy and unpopular.

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Excerpts from "No Earthly Good?" by Abigail J. Fox

“Culture follows religion. We cannot mend the religion of others. We can only take care of our own. Once we understand our duties, we may provide an edifying influence on the Christians around us. Should this be true and growing, then such a Church will be a beautiful sight and will produce its own culture, a vineyard worth sampling. That culture could be replicated whenever God-fearing people populate a Christian Church. And should those people find themselves with authority over regions and even a nation, then the culture will reflect the religion by God’s appointment, and not by the shortcut taken by well-meaning but arrogant Christians.

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Wisdom Speaks

When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.

Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:

For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:

They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.

Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.

For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.

But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

Proverbs 1.27-33

Idols and the perversion of Florence Nightingale

For over two years I have been researching and writing for a book about idols who are accepted as Christian (or accepted by Christians). The adoration of such idols makes them millstones around our neck. We are encouraged to act in imitation of them, to construe their behaviour as Christian, even though on closer inspection they disregarded most of God’s commands and set themselves up as saviours of mankind. By worshipping such men and women, we lead others into idolatry and far from their duty before God.

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The Alignment of Romanticism and Roman Catholicism

England apostatised through Romanticism. It was a suitable portal because it did not appear to be a religion. Most people did not even know the term - they just became obsessively interested in literature, art, music and architecture. Once their interest was captured, the English became very jealous over their right to enjoy the Arts. Ultimately, in 1870, they fought the clergy over the right of the people to have a concert in a cathedral rather than a sermon. The people won and there was no turning back.

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The Theology of Song

"We Anglicans, like many other Christians, learn a fair amount of our theology through the hymns we sing"

~ N. T. Wright in For all the Saints? Remembering the Christian Departed (Continuum 2003) page xiv

This is the true reason for the deposition of the Book of Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs in the Holy Scriptures from its pre-eminent position as the appointed music of the Church. Their theology does not suit our theology. The Rev. William Romaine stood against the tide in his own generation, when the pragmatist said that the hymns of Charles Wesley were necessary because people were so ignorant of any knowledge of God.

The nature of the worth we proclaim moulds us. If we praise God's tolerance at expense of his justice and if we praise God's love in the absence of his mercy, then we sing from a different hymn-sheet. This does not mean that Christians cannot write good songs. But they are not fit for God's worship. Our theology is too poor and the Lord God knew it in giving us songs for his worship. He leads us as children. If we stand on the table and pronounce that we are tall enough to look grown up and can now write songs for ourselves, we only show how childish we still are.

Tohu and Bohu

Before creation, there was Tohu and Bohu - confusion and emptiness.

Each day of creation banished tohu and bohu more and more.

Light established clarity, where darkness brought confusion.

Light revealed the subsequent creations - plants, birds, fish animals - and a world so far from empty as to be full of goodness.

The creation of man was the final abolition of confusion, for man was commanded to rule Eden. With the order for all creatures and life to be fruitful and multiply, the world was to be less empty, every day, every year, everywhere.

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The Bible and the Composer

One of the matters I sought to refute in Beauty and Joy: The Christian Nature of Music is the idea that the best art made by Christians is art with content drawn from the Bible.

Paul Westermeyer advocates - or rather assumes - this:

If you emphasise Christ’s humanity at the expense of his divinity, you might choose music that affirms our humanity - music that relates to us who are beings with bodies. If you follow this logic, the music may be rhythmic and perhaps even sensuous. Or may be the highest possible art.

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Depression

Katharine Welby, daughter of the Archbishop of Canterbury, has been speaking about her "battle with depression". Met by tremendous sympathy, she has responded by launching the public presentation of the "Happiness Course". This is an Alpha-course lite - positive thinking and no Gospel. One might ask why the daughter of the Archbishop thinks this is a wise move, given her profession of faith as expressed on her own site. Where is the common ground?

The common ground is in the language of humanism as determined by one word: depression. Miss Welby thinks of depression as a disease, an affliction, a trial. She is bold in doing so, in the face of a Church that likes to pretend that as role models to the world, Christians must be perfect. And that is why she will be welcome to everyone - Christians will have sympathy and humanists will rejoice to see a Christian who admits that she still has problems.

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